The powerful storm over the weekend was not felt particularly strongly in the city of Burgas, but one of the warnings of the municipality came true, by knocking down a part of the bike lane towards Sarafovo into the sea. Eighteen months ago, experts warned the country that if urgent measures were not taken, this is exactly what would happen.
“It turned out that the project that the state assigned to us at the time has to be redone now, because the damage is even greater. And it turns out that if we had reacted by now, half the funds would have been needed. And now many more will be needed. Because more materials need to be invested in deeper strengthening, in a wider coverage of this whole landslide process, as well as from sea abrasion. So the damage is twice as much for the state budget,” said Mayor Dimitar Nikolov.
The driveway is currently unusable. To get to the neighborhood, cyclists will now have to take the upper, much more inconvenient “farm” road. Fortunately, no one was injured in the collapse of the state-owned field. In the months of April and May 2022, the Municipality of Burgas for the first time asked for help from the state to stop the collapse of a part of a coastal street with a bicycle lane to the “Sarafovo” quarter. With great alarm, in July of last year, she sent a second letter to the Regional Administration and the Ministry of Regional Planning and Development. Effective steps to solve the problem did not follow. Subsequently, the Municipality of Burgas urgently prepared a project, with which the measures to strengthen the landslide were specified and valued. And provided it to MRRB. The ministry responded to this in the following way in a letter dated June 19 this year: “Apparently from the received documentation, the Municipality of Burgas has commissioned the presented project, which affects properties that are not its property. The Municipality of Burgas does not have the rights of a contractor within the meaning of Art. 161 of the ZUT for the implementation of the completed project, given the ownership of the affected properties. In view of the above, we are returning the submitted investment project.” In a letter dated August 2 of this year, regional governor Plamen Yanev repeated the thesis of the regional minister and added that: “Given the public importance of the coastal street for the residents and guests of Burgas, you may at this stage send request to MRRD, through the Regional Governor of Burgas Region, to declare the property as private state property and transfer it free of charge in accordance with art. 54 of the VAT, in order to realize the bicycle lane foreseen in the detailed development plan”.
* Background: After the initial collapse and the first call for help from the Municipality, the regional governor organized an on-site meeting with experts from “Geoprotection” EAD – Varna. “Geoprotection” sent a statement with findings and recommendations. According to them, the problem was caused by surface water. Two of the recommendations related to restricting traffic along the alley and placing the necessary signage were quickly implemented by the Municipality of Burgas. Corresponding traffic signs and an embankment were placed to prevent vehicular and pedestrian traffic. However, the passage of cyclists and pedestrians there continued. The third recommendation was related to the need to take actions for surface drainage and asphalting. Since the affected property is state property, these actions should be taken by the state. Meanwhile, the daily observations carried out by the Municipality’s experts showed that the destructive processes are not abating, but deepening. In all probability, besides surface water, there was another more serious reason for the destruction. Therefore, the Municipality of Burgas, with its own funds, ordered a thorough inspection to be carried out by independent experts with the relevant professional qualifications. According to them, the main reason for the destabilization of the terrain was sea abrasion. Another reason was the disturbance of the balance of the sediments in this territory, as a result of the built shore strengthening dam. In order to protect the coast from subsequent adverse erosion and landslide processes, they recommended that the dam be extended by 300 m in the direction of the town of “Ugla”. Even then, the Municipality of Burgas declared as disturbing the fact that there was a discrepancy in the opinions of the state-owned “Geozashchita” EOOD – Varna and the private “Proekt Troy” EOOD – Varna. Therefore, she continued to insist on taking adequate actions by the state to secure the coast, and thus also to protect people’s lives and health. But they remained unheard.